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Heroes at work!

AHOSKIE – It’s not very often that a person reports to work to a standing ovation.

But this is a unique period of time in which we currently live.

With a huge American Flag hung between two fire trucks plus a small army of local emergency first responders lining one side of West Memorial Drive providing the perfect backdrop, staff members at Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital were given a hero’s welcome here Tuesday as they arrived for their 7 a.m. shift.

“They are on the front lines of the [COVID-19] pandemic each and every day. They have my respect,” stated Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh who was part of a large welcoming party that included law enforcement agencies, firefighters, Emergency Medical Services personnel, and Emergency Management staff.

Emergency first responders from several local departments paid their respect to the Vidant RCH staff for the work they are doing on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

The red and blue lights of several fire trucks, ambulances, and law enforcement vehicles parked near the Vidant RCH employees’ entrance off Memorial Drive lit-up the early morning sky as the medical staffers walked past.

Upon reaching the sidewalk leading to the hospital’s staff entrance, those reporting to work were applauded by their supervisors/department heads and given words of encouragement.

“This event demonstrates the amazing support we’ve received from the Roanoke-Chowan community, said Judy Bruno, Vidant RCH President. “These heroes [the emergency first responders lining the street] keep our communities safe, so for them to recognize our health care heroes during this unprecedented time is truly touching. I am proud of the way our team members and the community have stepped up to respond to these challenging times.”

Wendy Minton, Assistant Nurse Manager of the Emergency Department and Emergency Management Coordinator at Vidant RCH, was among those who planned Tuesday morning’s event.

“The coronavirus pandemic has shown what a strong, motivated, and caring ‘family’ of team members we have here at VRCH,” Minton remarked. “Our team members are all heroes, not just the nurses and doctors, but everyone has stepped up to help out and done their part in this crisis.”

Minton noted that the “healthcare heroes” at the hospital includes the outstanding respiratory therapy team, who are critical to patients with COVID-19; the food services team providing meals and bringing snacks to frontline teams; housekeeping teams sanitizing each department; company police officers keeping everyone safe; the plant operations team for renovations to protect team members; medical laboratory staffers making testing for the virus possible; radiology techs on the frontline providing X-rays, and the education team providing information and updates on new process/procedures; among many others.

“There are just too many to name,” Minton stressed. “Our entire team has been so innovative and has worked tirelessly, with a smile, as we have worked as together as one.

“We also honor our local heroes in the community, including local EMS agencies and the Hertford and Gates County emergency management teams for all their help and support. We are also grateful to local community members, churches, and businesses for their donations to the hospital. We thank all of them,” Minton concluded.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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